Why Ufton Court?
We knew we wanted to have a marry in a church and we both grew up locally. Harriet had been to an evening reception at Ufton Court the previous year and had absolutely loved the rustic Tithe barn and gorgeous courtyards. When we got engaged in September 2016, we were lucky to spot an upcoming Ufton Court wedding fayre which took place the following month. We fell in love and reserved our date on the day!
We only visited two venues but Ufton Court just ticked every box – not only is it absolutely beautiful and full of character, but we loved the flexibility to choose our own caterer and supply our own wine with no corkage fee. It also has suitable areas for wet and dry weather – something we can never be sure of in England! To top it all off, we loved that all the profits would go to the Ufton Court educational trust, a lovely gesture.
The tithe barn lends itself beautifully to a rustic themed wedding. Our chosen colours were spring pastels – ivory, blush pink and mint green. We made very good use of Ufton Court’s recommended suppliers – Berkshire Wedding Hire helped with a festoon light canopy, with mint and blush lanterns.
We also hired up lighting for the barn, giant Mr and Mrs letters for the dancefloor and hessian and lace sashes for each chair. Laura from Lulabee supplied several items some signage for various areas of the grounds – and smaller items for our sweetie table. We also got creative ourselves and upcycled wooden pallets into a table plan and another into an ‘order of the day’ sign – taking inspiration from Pinterest and other Ufton Court social media posts! I was very proud of our creations and wouldn’t have changed a thing – we received lots of comments on how beautiful the barn looked!
We got married at St James’s church in Bramley, Hampshire – about 20 minutes’ drive from Ufton Court. Harriet grew up in Bramley so it meant a lot to us and to our families to have our ceremony here. Harriet walked down the aisle to “A thousand years” by the Piano guys. We used Charismatic Cars to transport us from the church to Ufton Court in a beautiful vintage Rolls Royce. It was very special!
The Dress – How did you know it was the ‘one’?
I bought my dress at Tilly Mint Weddings in Fleet. I was absolutely adamant I wanted something with lots of lace and a bit of sparkle. I’d probably been watching too many episodes of “say yes to the dress” and was a bit overwhelmed with the choice!
However, in situ, I was NOT feeling “THAT feeling” with the lace and sparkle so I tried on something more simplistic, a plain crepe gown with small cap sleeves and a sweetheart neck by Stella York. From the moment I put it on, I had a lump in my throat. I was just praying that my mum would love it as much as I did…. and she did! Even better, it was WELL within budget because the detail wasn’t too fussy so there was plenty of room for alteration costs.
Leading up to the wedding, the seamstress helped with some small and subtle lace appliqués on the shoulders which finished the dress off perfectly! It had a very classic feel to it – minimalistic style with a very long train and little buttons down the back. I loved the way the dress fitted me, it all flowed perfectly. My shoes were Mimosa by Rachel Simpson in mint green. I decided to go for green to match the bridesmaids and a non-Ivory colour means I can wear them again… I like the idea of wearing them out for dinner on every anniversary!
I chose Miss Mollie’s Flowers for our bouquets and buttonholes – again, one of Ufton Court’s recommended suppliers. Claire Wallace is the loveliest lady with such a passion for floristry. As soon as I met her, I knew I wanted her to arrange our flowers. I wanted a really big, unstructured bouquet to contrast against my simple dress!
My bouquet was made with David Austen Roses, soft pink lisianthus, Lily of the Valley (which were my Grandma’s favourite flower) with lots of floppy Eucalyptus. My bouquet and Andy’s buttonhole also had a sprig of myrtle taken from the myrtle plant grown at Osborne House, on the Isle of Wight which my Mum had brought home and cultivated in the garden! Myrtle is symbolic of marriage and love and has featured in many royal wedding bouquets since 1858, including the ones carried by the Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge. It was a lovely gift and every bride deserves to feel like royalty on her wedding day, right?
Our table centrepieces were made by a family friend. I was given lots of old jam jars by a friend who had married the previous year and I decorated them all with hessian and lace. They sat on wooden, log centrepieces.
The Food & Drink
We used Total Hospitality for our catering and they were fantastic! For our welcome reception we had a selection of bottled beers and glasses of prosecco. We also had a selection of canapés served on the terrace above the sunken garden – our favourite was the honey glazed sticky pork sausages! For the wedding breakfast we had a three course dinner – we played it safe with chicken as a main course though we did try some amazing courses at the menu tasting session! These guys know sure do how to cook great food!
In the evening, we opted for a hog roast with all the trimmings – crackling, stuffing and apple sauce. It was absolutely delicious and our guests enjoyed it very much! Total Hospitality made this a very affordable option and it was a good way to cater for a large number of guests.
We were lucky enough to have a fabulous cake maker in the family, Harriet’s mum! She is so talented, so there was never any doubt that she would make the cake for us. We had no creative input whatsoever – she wanted it all to be a surprise! She knew the colour scheme for the wedding and wanted to make it a masterpiece. We had four tiers – fruitcake, vanilla sponge, lemon cake and our favourite, chocolate with a white chocolate ganache! It was so delicious. All of the flowers and tiny details on the cake were made entirely from icing – it was incredible! Mum also made all of our wedding favours – shortcake biscuits iced and individually decorated. They were amazing!
We made a couple of playlists for the drinks reception and wedding breakfast ourselves and we’d recommend this to all other couples as it created a really relaxed atmosphere. For the evening we hired a band “Blue Juice” through Function Central who absolutely made the evening. We have had endless comments about how fantastic they were… & we didn’t leave the dancefloor! Our stand out moment was at the end of the night dancing to Mr Brightside by The Killers. Our friends lifted us both onto their shoulders and we danced hand in hand – a very special memory for us!
The photographer / videographer
We chose Shane Webber as our photographer, another Ufton Court recommendation. Shane’s photos are absolutely stunning and we are so happy we chose him! We were very fortunate to have beautiful weather – there wasn’t a cloud in the sky! One of the things we appreciated most was Shane’s creativity. He had so many great ideas during the day – we trusted him completely and he captured some very precious moments. Our favourite photos from the day were taken on the long driveway and also in a neighbouring field at sunset. Most importantly, he uses a “fly on the wall” approach, capturing natural moments of all our guests. Our funniest photo was taken during the speeches. Andy has his face in his hands and I am cracking up laughing… it was taken during the best man’s speech but I couldn’t possibly repeat the joke!
We also used Alex Haynes as our videographer who has produced the most amazing video for us and a 6min montage of the entire day. The day flies by so quickly and it’s so nice to have this to look back and relive all of the fun and excitement of the day.
Your advice to future couples –
Our five top tips would have to be…